Friday, December 25, 2015
The Reverend Dr. Neil G. Cazares-Thomas
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through God, and without God not one thing came into being. What has come into being in God was life, and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was one sent from God, whose name was John. John came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe. John was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. The Light was in the world, and the world came into being through it; yet the world did not know. The Light came to what was its own, and yet its own people did not accept it. But to all who received, who believed, power was given to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of humanity, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen its glory, the glory as of God’s own Child, full of grace and truth. John 1:1-15 (Inclusive Version)
Today is Christmas Day and following the services of Advent and Christmas Eve we come today to celebrate the birthday of Jesus.
Not to get into any theological debate over when the actual birthday of Jesus might or might not have been, suffice it to say that regardless of how we got to choose December 25th as the day, it is the day that we commemorate and celebrate.
In opening verses of the Gospel of John we are told that the Light of the World has come into the world. It is the Light that will illuminate the hidden places, the dark places, the oppressive places, the places of injustice and bring about the ultimate “grace and truth.”
As I take a moment today to celebrate the birth of Christ, I also call myself to the life and ministry that God set in Jesus. God challenged the life of Jesus to be a life of light. God would open up the dark spaces of oppression and injustice and through its light challenge humanity to return to ways of goodness.
As a follower of Jesus, I call upon the Light within to use me in the same way that God instructed Jesus and reflect the Light within to become the Light without. It is a shared mission that God invited Jesus to and that God invites followers of Jesus to today.
On Christmas Eve at Cathedral of Hope we lit the Christ Candle and invited the Light of the World into our worship, into our church and into the hearts and minds of those who choose to welcome that Light today. This is a somewhat difficult mantle but one that we carry not alone, but with the “grace and truth” of the Holy Spirit within us. It is a Light that the world is in desperate need of and one that will complete the story of Christmas when God’s realm, the realm of values such as compassion, forgiveness, love and acceptance are the values of all those who seek to be in good relationship with God, one another and self.
As we light again and again the Christ Candle of Christmas, perhaps we can light again and again the Light within us, casting this Light through us, like Jesus, into the world so that the world might be transformed by it.
The Light has come into the world – it is in you and it is in me. Together we can co-create with God the world that God hoped for in Jesus.
Light of the World, help me to understand that the Light was passed from Jesus to those who are Your followers. Help us to ignite that light again today as we celebrate the birthday of Jesus who, full of grace and truth, demonstrated the Light of God in his daily life and experience. Call us, as followers of Jesus to shine brighter today, and tomorrow as we transform ourselves and transform the world. In Your Name we pray. Amen.
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